15 May 2012

Finally Finding the Right Fit


As a young man in Dublin, Ireland, Andrew Heffernan (MBA 2006) worked in a variety of summer jobs with the family business, the country’s largest retailer. But retailing took a back seat as he pursued a variety of career aspirations.

Heffernan trained as a doctor (graduating first in his class), practiced briefly, and decided that medicine was not the right fit. He tried investment banking with Goldman Sachs for a few years, but something still was missing. After graduating from HBS, he moved to Amsterdam for a consulting job with Bain. But that didn’t provide the satisfaction he envisioned. Increasingly, he longed to return to his roots in retailing. “I always dreamed of being in the branding and fashion business,” he says.

In pursuit of that dream, Heffernan left Amsterdam for New York, where in September 2009 he enrolled in a fashion-marketing program at the Parsons School of Fashion. Since completing the program in December 2010, Heffernan has divided his time between angel investing and consulting with small clothing and retail brands, while looking for the right emerging retailer to join as a team member.

“I want to create a great brand in the men’s space,” he explains. “I don’t have any aspiration to be a designer or creative director. I want to work on the business side, something that most designers and creative directors aren’t that comfortable with.”

A believer in the transformative power of education, Heffernan has remained active as a fundraising volunteer since graduating from HBS. For his 5th Reunion, he made a gift to support the work of the Harvard Innovation Lab and the new FIELD course, which requires first-year MBAs to take part in team-based learning experiences that are immersive, field-based, and action-oriented.

“I’ve been lucky enough to attend institutions that have opened my eyes to the benefits of education,” says Heffernan. “I think it’s important to give back to those institutions so they can give others the same kind of experiences that I had.”

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 2006, Section J

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